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Radical Women: Latin American Art 1960-1985

The taboo of the female body is ever present in the Hammer's exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art 1960-1985. There is no replacement for going to an exhibition in person. The interaction with art is necessary for the emotional impact. In this case, the exhibition is full of powerful images related to women over the course of history. The first visual impact is outside the main gallery where a large mural board filled with social and political data on women related by country, including the United States, is placed. The timelines start with the suffragettes, with women getting the vote in each country.

“This is an important exhibition that has given visibility to some women who have been forgotten in some cases, and in others have become reknowned artists,” said Beatriz Cortez in a curated lead walk-through of the exhibition.

Inside one of the main the galleries the visual impact deepened. The eye first catches a woman's mustached lipstick covered mouth seen from a close up angle on camera saying mute words. Next the eye takes in a painting of a woman’s legs spread open before a TV screen in the middle of the night. Then a curiously red silk covered device in the shape of a human female form vibrates, quite sexual in its invitation to peek under, which of course one doesn’t. All of these are your first emotional impressions of the artists of the time.

These were all female artists of Latino heritage, some in the United States, others in Latin America, who worked during this key period of contemporary art history. Fifteen countries are represented in this exhibition by 120 artists and collectives, with more than 280 works of photography, video and other experimental mediums. Many of these artists worked under political oppression. Their work cut into the movement against political and social repression of the female body that overshadowed women in Latin America and the United States between 1960 -1985. This exhibition constitutes the first genealogy of feminist and radical art practices in Latin America and their influence internationally.

The exhibition is spread out over four main galleries. In another of these large galleries, a video of a woman being enclosed in a clay vat then being reborn is on display. This is the work of Celeida Tostes (Brazilian, 1929 - 1995) called Passagem (Passages) from 1979. It is a photo performance of 21 projected photographs of her encapsulation and rebirth from this vat. She covers her nude body in wet clay with the help of two female assistants and climbs inside the enormous vat of unbaked clay, suggestive of both an indigenous funerary urn and a womb. The vat was sealed and the artist remained inside for a time. She then knocked on its wall to break it and fell to the floor. The performance was at the time photographed by Henry Stahl.

“Passages was an attempt to return to the womb of a mother she never knew,” Tostes said of her performance.

Video: Passages (1979) by Celeida Tostes


The Radical Woman Curator Walk-Through will be held Sunday, September 24 at 2 p.m. The Hammer Museum is located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Related programs to this exhibition will be held as follows:

Latinas Out Loud: Pa’rriba! And Ayer Es Hoy held Friday September 22 and Thursday November 2, 7-11 p.m.

Voices Of The Xtabay: A Tribute To Yma Sumac held Saturday October 7 at 7:30 p.m.


Screening and Hammer Forum:

No Mas Bebes held Tuesday October 24, at 7:30 p.m.

Forced Sterilization: Then And Now held Sunday October 29 at 2 p.m.


Conversations at the Hammers

Escensa Latinas: Changing The Narrative held Sunday November at 3 p.m.

Astrid Hadad: (De)Constructing Mexicandad held Wednesday November 29 at 7:30 p.m.



Author Bio
Kriss Perras
Author: Kriss PerrasWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Publisher & Editor
Kriss Perras owns Ruptured Media where she publishes Malibu Arts Journal. Ruptured Media is also a story development company. Kriss has been tenacious and fought authority from the very start of her career in journalism. Kriss' first story as a journalist was for her college newspaper covering George W. Bush and Steve Forbes in the Iowa Caucuses during the 2000 election. She showed up at the hotel where Bush was to speak with her editor's letter of assignment in hand. She credentialed at the press desk like every other press person. She had questions in hand she had prepared to ask the Presidential candidate. She walked into the speaking room to find the press was roped off from the candidate. Being new to election coverage, and journalism, she was disappointed. She stood next to a seasoned AP photographer on the press platform. She asked the AP photographer if she could get out from behind the ropes and ask Bush her questions. The AP photographer said, "Well, you can try." So she did. She stepped out from behind the ropes and waited in line behind the people seeking the candidate's autograph. When it was her turn, she introduced herself to Bush as a college journalist and started to ask her questions. Bush said, " Wait, are you a journalist?" She said, "Yes." Bush nodded to his Secret Service team. They promptly came over on each side of her. She was 5'6" tall and weighed 127 pounds. The Secret Service men were well over a foot taller than her and obviously guys who worked out often. They could pick her up with their pinky fingers. They quickly picked her up by her arms, carried her over the ropes and plopped her back down on the press platform as she was still asking Bush her questions. Bush to his credit said, "Please give her one of my books. The answers to her questions are in my book." So she had to read his entire book, but she indeed found the answers to her questions. She also drew political cartoons for her college newspaper and still does today. Her next big break came in 2002, still as a student, with an interview with former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski. Kriss went on in 2006 to found PCH Press, Malibu's daily newspaper. With PCH Press, she had extensive coverage of the battle against LNG and the fight against the placement of an LNG port being placed off the coast of Malibu and Oxnard, among other local news. She has covered Olara Otunnu, former United Nations Undersecretary General and Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict when he spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She covered Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman when she spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She has interviewed Progressive David Swanson and numerous Malibu Mayors. In 2007, She founded Malibu Arts Journal magazine. Kriss built Malibu Arts Journal from the ground up. She has taken the magazine from an unknown dot com to a respected title. She earned the magazine digital distribution through Magzter and the iTunes App Store where it now enjoys broad based readership across the globe. She is a member of the national honor society Who's Who In American Universities And Colleges. Her photogrpahy has aired on CMTV channel 14 Spokane, Washington. *Photo Copyright 2017: Alan Weissman
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